Our annual list of the best luxury hotel openings in 2020 is here – call it our top 20 of 2020! A decade is behind us and we have reported on some incredible openings over the last ten years since we have produced our annual list (you can see my list of favorite openings 2010-2019 here!).
2019 in particular was an exceptional year of quality luxury hotel openings. I was fortunate to stay at several notable ones on that list last year including Heckfield Place in England, Blackberry Mountain in Tennessee, The Lodge at Blue Sky in Utah, Belmond Cadogan Hotel in London and Hotel Lutetia in Paris. Reviews are coming soon on each of these amazing spots.
Cropping the list of luxury hotel openings for 2020 was no easy feat as this year is stocked with more anticipated luxury hotel openings worldwide than I have ever seen. This year, I selected the 20 places (this being purely a subjective process, of course) that I felt were particularly distinct and not on every list out there. I will point out one hotel on this year’s list has shown up on my annual list for the past three consecutive years (the long awaited Six Senses Shaharut in Israel that WILL open this May and I believe it will be well worth the wait) and I even got to tour one pre-opening – the beautiful Auberge Resorts’ Mauna Lani – while I was on winter holiday.
Some of the hotels on this list are already accepting reservations and you can book them directly from here while also gaining exclusive access to special opening offers, best available rates and Virtuoso benefits, thanks to Classic Travel.com. This is the ONLY place you can book hotels and access Virtuoso amenities and Classic Travel preferred partnership amenities online. Simply click on the link below the hotels to search availability, rates and special amenities. Interested in any others? Just drop me a line.
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OUR FAVORITE LUXURY HOTEL OPENINGS FOR 2020
Bawah Reserve, Elang, Indonesia
Opening END OF YEAR
What: The eco-friendly resort Bawah Reserve is adding a bespoke outpost on the island of Elang.
Why: This is a place to get away from it all in true sustainable luxury (everything made from recycled nature materials). Remote yet only an 80-minute seaplane ride from Singapore! I love this as a city-escape combo!
Bai San Ho, Vietnam
Opening August 1
What: A beautiful 240-acre beachfront resort in Vietnam with 71 villas, three restaurants and two pools.
Why: I love anything that comes out of Belgian based hospitality company, Zannier, who focus on simple and authentic luxurious escapes in beautiful parts of the world (think Namibia, Megeve, Cambodia, Belgium). This is Zannier’s sixth hotel and first foray into Vietnam.
Borgo SantAndrea, Amalfi Coast, Italy
What: A new family-owned boutique hotel hideaway, a stone throw from the town of Amalfi overlooking the sea. Management here have experience from the some of the best hotels in Italy.
Why: Every one of the 29 rooms and 16 suites have a direct sea view, a private sandy beach (a rarity in Amalfi) and crisp mid-century modern all in Amalfi Coast.
Cheval Blanc, Paris, France
What: With Cheval Blanc St. Barth and St. Tropez opened, Cheval Blanc sets its sites on the perfect menage a trois with Paris, A quintessential location on the banks of the Seine and Pont Neuf with 36 rooms and 36 suites, some with panoramic floor to ceiling windows to take in the sights.
Why: Location ideal for those who love the left bank but want the right bank space and glamour (Entry level rooms start at 484 square feet). Also 20 connecting rooms and suites catering to families. Love the RT transfers we can provide guests!
Check availability, rates and book Cheval Blanc Paris with Virtuoso amenities such as complimentary breakfast, credits, room upgrades and early check-in/late check-out. Complimentary Complimentary round-trip private airport / train station / hotel transfer with VIP meet & greet is included.
Airelles ChÂteau de Versailles, France
What:The Airelles brand has a small number of exceptional properties in France in Courcheval and Val D’Iseres in converted palaces and stately mansions. Their newest opening is a 14-suite hotel in historic building within Versailles takes the cake though (Let them eat cake!).
Why: Well, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to sleep inside the walls (in beautifully designed suites adorned with Pierre Frey fabrics, bien sûr) of the Château Versailles? If only those walls could talk! Behind the scenes, direct access to parts of the grounds that the public does not have access in addition to Valmont spa, pool and the Alain Ducasse restaurant? I am all over this…
Villa Dagmar, Stockholm
What: A new boutique hotel in a beautiful historic 70-room Beaux Arts Building in posh, waterside quarter of Östermalm.
Why: An onsite concept store, organic food store, Michelin restaurant and flower shop as well as adjacent food hall. Very excited about this hotel!
Villa Copenhagen, Denmark
What: An 108-year-old post office transformed into a stunning 390-room eco-luxury hotel, right next to Tivoli Gardens.
Why: I am not sure which I would run to first, the heated rooftop pool or the traditional on-site Danish bakery. Either way, I love the eco-friendly ethos of this centrally located property that promises the fusion of old architecture with modern design.
ArCtic Bath Swedish Lapland
What: An adult 12-cabin floating boutique hotel and wellness retreat open year-round just south of the Arctic Circle.
Why: This one wins the most unique design award. If the remote location isn’t intriguing enough, the striking birds nest/birthday cake design along with the open-air cold bath (just 4 degrees in winter!) should do it.
ONE and Only Portonovi, Montenegro
What: One&Only opens its first European resort in Montenegro on Boka Bay.
Why: Sick of the summer crowds? Get to Montenegro now! A stunning all-season destination, Montenegro boasts two UNESCO World Heritage sights – including the prettily preserved medieval town of Kotor with its ancient cobbled streets and the Durmitor National Park. Monasteries and churches, Perast’s palaces, Budva’s beautiful beaches and alpine ski resorts of Žabljak are all nearby. But the grounds of this resort may not wanting you to stray with six pools overlooking the Adriatic, a private beach and club, Venetian-inspired gardens, and spa.
Auberge Mauna Lani, Big island
Opened January 5
What: Things are starting to heat up on our favorite destinations with the newly opened Mauna Lani and following its heels, the Rosewood in the new Kona Village in 2022. Just back from Big Island, I visited the reimagined Mauna Lani, located on the Kohala coast not far from Four Seasons Hualalai. Auberge Resorts is now managing the 32-acre oceanfront Mauna Lani resort after a 14-month $200 million renovation, updating everything from the pools and public spaces to the rooms and restaurants.
Why: The newly transformed 330-room property is quite stunning. I loved the dramatic, open-air lobby that really created a sense of place while bringing a refreshed modern design (something needed in many of the more traditional style resorts on the other islands). The new spa, fitness center, and surf shack. Go for one of the 36-suites, all of them ocean-view.
Book Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort with Inviato through November 2020) and get a $250 DAILY resort credit PLUS Virtuoso amenities (one category upgrade upon availability, $100 credit, complimentary buffet breakfast for two, early check-in/late check-out if available. Check rates and availability here.
Commodore Perry Estate, Austin TX
What: A renovated historic landmark that once housed several private schools and a convent, now turned into a 42 room/12 suite boutique resort on 10 acres managed by Auberge Resorts.
Why: Well, it’s close to the University of Texas, Austin Campus for one in case you are going on campus visits. But it is also a distinct urban retreat…and Auberge has its hands on it.
Ambiente, Sedona Arizona
What: A landscape hotel surrounded by protected forest, Ambiente is all about sustainable design and blending in with nature and its surroundings. 40 cube-shaped guest atriums are elevated above the ground using steel piers and constructed using floor-to-ceiling bronze-tinted glass and metal.
Why: Stunning Sedona has been in dire need of some new lodgings and now it has one. This new landscape hotel with mirror-clad pods is literally a breath of fresh air.
Little Palm Island, Florida Keys
What: A 5-acre ultra-luxe private island resort in the Lower Florida Keys completes its multimillion dollar renovation with fully updated 15 thatch bungalow suites, a new spa, renovated dining space and private pool cabanas.
Why: The reopening of this beloved and romantic resort has been long awaited after being closed for two and a half years after Hurricane Irma. There is nothing quite like it in the keys (leave the kids at home for this place).
What: Right after a successful opening in Austin, spa-focused wellness brand Miraval is making its way to the Berkshires to take over the 380-acre Cranwell Resort and showcase its holistic programs including its signature horse program, cooking classes, yoga, fitness and golf.
Why: With only Canyon Ranch in the area, I have to say I have been waiting for a new age destination spa resort to open nearby that I (and about 100 ladies I know) can be excited about. Spending $80MM to transform the property with Clodagh as the lead designer, Miraval is sure to be an instant popular weekend destination with the ladies who lunch (and their moms and daughters).
Alaia Belize, Ambergris Caye
What: This is Marriott’s Autograph Collection’s debut in Belize, specifically the island of Ambergris Caye, with the boutique hotel Alaia (no relation to Azzedine Alaia).
Why: The 20-acre eco-luxury, stylish resort and residences will feature 155 accommodations including eight oceanfront villas along with a beach club exclusive to guests and residents, a rooftop suspended pool (the first in Belize), spa, fitness center, and kids club. Located near the world’s second largest coral reef system and three atolls, there will of course be an onsite dive shop as well. Yes, puleeze, Belize.
Rosewood Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands
Opened January 6
What: One of the most anticipated re-openings this year after a four-year closure, island resort Rosewood Little Dix Bay founded by Laurence Rockefeller is the one of the first huge luxury hotel openings of the year.
Why: The resort has been completely reimagined (the new word I keep seeing) by New York design team Meyer Davis (the team also responsible for the reimagining of Auberge Mauna Lani) with 80 new guest rooms, suites, villas and treehouses. Spanning 500 acres on half a mile of beach, the resort includes four dining venues, two pools, new fitness center and spa.
Book Rosewood Little Dix Bay with Inviato and receive a one category upgrade upon availability, $100 credit, complimentary breakfast for two, and early check-in/late check-out if available. Check rates and availability here.
One & Only Mandarina, Mexico
Opening June 1
What: I’ve gotten tired of talking about all the new openings in Cabo the past two years but am really excited about this opening on the Riviera Nayarit – the Pacific coast north of Punta de Mita where the new One and Only Mandarina will be home to their first residence collection with 54 private homes. Expect to hear a lot more about this area as a Rosewood, Ritz, Fairmont and three other hotels are all expected to open in the next two to three years on the coastline.
Why: The new One and Only will be located on a spectacular cliff-side overlooking the Pacific Ocean with dramatic vistas and a lush rainforest setting. Guests will have the choice among the 104 guest accommodations of 104 free-standing villas above the treetops or perch against the cliffs – each with their own private plunge pool. Definitely on my list to visit this year!
Book One & Only Mandarina with Inviato and receive a one category upgrade upon availability, $100 credit, complimentary breakfast for two, and early check-in/late check-out if available. Check rates and availability here.
Six Senses Shaharut, Israel
Opening MAY 5
What: After appearing on my 2018 AND 2019 list, I swear this year the Six Senses Shaharut is really opening! They are already taking bookings for May 5 and beyond (all you planning bat and bar mitzvahs for your kids, take note).
Why: Located just 45 minutes north of Eilat and three hours from Tel Aviv, the new resort will be a game changer for the country, especially on a service level. Set on top of a hill, you can expect panoramic views from almost any of the 60 suites and villas (I suggest one with a private pool). Three restaurants, an infinity pool and of course a wellness spa to enjoy!
Art Haus Gemmayze Lebanon
What: A 19-room chic boutique hotel with exotic gardens and an amazing art collection in the bohemian quarter of Gemmayze. Set across four houses that was once the home of art collectors, this will be the place to congregate and celebrate arts.
Why: Beirut (called ‘Paris of the Middle East’) is a hot destination for culture and food (although a Level 3 travel advisory right now, so maybe wait till things cool down) and this will be the chic place to be in town.
Kisawa Sanctuary Mozambique
What: A new style 12-bungalow sanctuary, Kiwasa Sanctuary is situated on a 750-acre stretch of forest, beach and sand dunes on Benguerra island off the coast of Mozambique
Why: Benguerra Island is a nature lovers delight with more than 145 bird species calling it home. And Kiwasa Sanctuary promises with this resort to set the standard in sustainable design, something I definitely care about.
10 Honorable Mentions: BEST HOTEL OPENINGS 2020
Amanvari, Los Cabos. Another Aman resort opening in Puerto Los Cabos in the same Costas Palmas Development as the recently opened Zadun Ritz Reserve.
Xigera Botswana (June 2020). This new 12-suite 100% solar-powered camp on the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta promises to be very exclusive and chic but at $3950 pp rates, I’m not that excited.
Six Senses and Aman New York (late 2020). These two luxury brands will be taking Manhattan by storm. Aman’s first urban location (82 rooms and suites and 22 residences) in the Crown Building is highly anticipated (if not for the 3-story spa alone). Further downtown, Six Senses will be opening by the High Line in two stunning new towers with two restaurants and of course a signature spa.
The St. Regis Venice.this new St. REgis boasts a magnificent outdoor garden and one of the most coveted locations along the city’s famed Grand Canal.
Bulgari PariS. a 76-room jewel opening on the right bank in the prestigious address of 30 Avenue George V, making this their eighth hotel property.
Pendry West Hollywood.(Summer 2020). After One West Hollywood and the Edition comes the Pendry (Montage’s hipper label)-a 149-guest room hotel with 40 private residences(stunning, I might add) right on Sunset Boulevard. A screening room, bowling alley, private social club and live music venue add to the appeal.
Four Seasons Napa.This was on our list last year and will finally be opening after some delays by the end of summer. Nipping at its heels is the 130-room Montage Healdsburg sonoma opening in October.
The Londoner, London(June 2020). Based in Leicester Square, this upside down (6 floors are subterranean) hotel will be the biggest and hippest newcomer to London this year.
100 Princes Street, Edinburgh. A former private members club turned into a highly exclusive 30-bedroom boutique hotel with a very prestigious address (the city’s most famous street) with sweeping views of Edinburgh Castle.
St. Regis Cairo(June 2020). Egypt if you haven’t figured out by now is back in a big way and the long awaited St. Regis will be sure to draw well heeled clientele.
Palace Elisabeth Hvar, Croatia. A long awaited land-based hotel in this area and this one is a former Duke’s palace turned into a boutique luxury 41-room hotel with views of the Adriatic Sea.